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Peter Boyle's peculiar view of multiculturalism

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  • bobgould987
    Peter Boyle s peculiar slant on the reactionary attack on multiculturalism By Bob Gould Monday s issue of Green Left Weekly has a lengthy article by Peter
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 2, 2005
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      Peter Boyle's peculiar slant on the reactionary attack on multiculturalism

      By Bob Gould

      Monday's issue of Green Left Weekly has a lengthy article by Peter
      Boyle with the rather ambiguous headline "Move over Pauline: War fans
      racism – the End of Multiculturalism?".

      In the article, Boyle makes the broadly correct point that the
      sweeping attacks by the bourgeois press and its paid hacks on
      multiculturalism itself, has a profoundly reactionary content.
      Nevertheless, nowhere in the article does he call for a broad defence
      of multiculturalism against these attacks.

      Indeed, the article reads as if the overthrow of multiculturalism is
      inevitable. This is a dangerous view for a socialist newspaper to
      express. To quite properly complain about the rabid racism of the most
      conservative sections of the ruling class without associating that
      complaint with a vigorous defence of multiculturalism is inherently
      defeatist.

      Multiculturalism has in fact become deeply entrenched in Australian
      society. Reactionary figures such as John Stone may call for the
      closure of SBS and the right wing of the Tory government may desire
      that kind of outcome, but there's a considerable basis in society for
      a vigorous and successful defence of multiculturalism.

      The reason Boyle beats about the bush on this question in the way he
      does, with a lot of leftist statements about racism, but without a
      forthright call for the defence of multiculturalism, has a certain
      history in the DSP leadership.

      A few years ago, on behalf of the DSP leadership, in a sort of "red
      professor" role, Iggy Kim put his name to a semi-official DSP
      pamphlet, "The Origins of Racism", in which he blamed the labour
      movement as the historical source of racism in Australian society.

      In that pamphlet it was argued that "official multiculturalism" was a
      reactionary device used by Labor as the "second party of capitalism"
      to delude migrant workers. The argument was that crude.

      (I'm not attacking Iggy Kim personally. Clearly, he was putting on
      paper the semi-official DSP leadership view, and it was obviously
      useful to have his name on the pamphlet given his non-English speaking
      migrant cultural background.)

      Recently, when Al Grassby died, the DSP and GLW completely ignored his
      death despite the retrospective witch-hunt launched by the bourgeois
      press against him as the eloquent Australian originator and exponent
      of multiculturalism.

      Now that the most reactionary section of the ruling class has launched
      such a ferocious attack on multiculturalism it's obviously a difficult
      question for the DSP leadership to handle.

      In pursuit of their shibboleth about the Labor Party as the second
      party of capitalism, the DSP leadership has elaborated a rather forced
      intellectual construction that takes the DSP into the same territory
      as the most reactionary sections of the right on this question.

      In the light of the current reactionary assault on multiculturalism,
      the DSP should open up in its press and in the Socialist Alliance and
      the DSP a serious discussion of multiculturalism, and who knows, they
      might even end up revising their mistaken position on this question.

      Those interested in these questions should carefully re-read Iggy
      Kim's DSP leadership pamphlet, "The Origins of Racism", and my
      article, "Multiculturalism and Australian National Identity"
      http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Multiculturalism.html , as
      well as my recent article about the death of Al Grassby.
      http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Grassby.html
    • Peter Boyle
      ... That s surely a twisted reading of the article , but not unexpected from such a chronic
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 2, 2005
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        bobgould987 wrote:

        > Peter Boyle's peculiar slant on the reactionary attack on multiculturalism
        >
        > By Bob Gould
        >
        > Monday's issue of Green Left Weekly has a lengthy article by Peter
        > Boyle with the rather ambiguous headline "Move over Pauline: War fans
        > racism – the End of Multiculturalism?".
        >
        > In the article, Boyle makes the broadly correct point that the
        > sweeping attacks by the bourgeois press and its paid hacks on
        > multiculturalism itself, has a profoundly reactionary content.
        > Nevertheless, nowhere in the article does he call for a broad defence
        > of multiculturalism against these attacks.
        >
        > Indeed, the article reads as if the overthrow of multiculturalism is
        > inevitable. This is a dangerous view for a socialist newspaper to
        > express. To quite properly complain about the rabid racism of the most
        > conservative sections of the ruling class without associating that
        > complaint with a vigorous defence of multiculturalism is inherently
        > defeatist.


        That's surely a twisted reading of the article
        <http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/636/636p24.htm>, but not
        unexpected from such a chronic mindless-point-scoring quarter.

        1. The article was a criticism of the rabid string of attacks on
        multicuturalism by commentators, some of whom expressly championed a
        return to greater mono-culturalism and the superiority of "Anglo-Celtic"
        culture, which I argued was racist despite their protestations to the
        contrary.

        2. The artice does not in any way state or suggest that "overthrow of
        multiculturalism is inevitable". I don't believe it is. Indeed I am
        working on a follow up article that looks at the resilience of
        popularity of the multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multicultural character of
        cities like London, Sydney and most major cities in Australia today. One
        example of this resilience is the fact that the slogan " We are all
        Londoners" became popular after the bombings. In an earlier age it may
        have been "We are all British"!

        3. I am not an uncritical supporter of "official multiculturalism" and
        certainly don't see it as addressing the roots of racism but if you'll
        check your extensive records of debates in the DSP you will find that
        Mike Karadjis and myself argued strongly that we should be very careful
        not to be misunderstood on this question. We are vigorous opponents of
        racism, and the mono-culturalist remnants of White Australia Policy.

        4. There has been talk of a "defense of multiculturalism" as a way
        forward for the anti-war movement today (coming from some ISO members in
        Sydney, for instance) but I think that is way too defensive. As I argued
        in my last post the anti-war movement should stick to its Troops out! focus.

        5. In general, I don't share Bob Gould's liberalism on the question of
        racism and agree with the general analysis of racism in the Iggy Kim
        pamphlet, which I consider is a good application of Marx's method to the
        topic. Being a half-caste product of Britain's colonial empire in Asia
        and having intersected with some of the worst racism in Australia
        through marriage and parenthood I've thought long and hard on this
        topic. It deeply influenced the development of my political views and I
        am happy to debate with whitey on the topic. If that sounds offensive it
        is because you offend me, Bob, and I bite back.

        Peter Boyle
      • Jeff Richards
        Im a half-caste product of amerikas colonial empire in Asia and I don t see why the far left should necessarily defend multiculturalism. It would be a big
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 3, 2005
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          Im a half-caste product of amerikas colonial empire in Asia and I
          don't see why the far left should necessarily defend multiculturalism. It
          would be a big mistake for the far left to apportion social rights on the
          basis of culture and/or religion, which is what the multiculturalists imply.
          Unfortunately this is a tendency in the 'post-modern' era. The left should
          retain its primary commitment to the apportionment of social rights on the
          basis of class and gender. Multiculturalism is heading for a crash, and the
          far left/post social democratic left should keep its analytic focus on
          economic inequality.
          References: Brian Barry 'Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique
          of Multiculturalism' Polity Press 2001.

          -----Original Message-----
          From: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Peter Boyle
          Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2005 1:52 PM
          To: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] Peter Boyle's peculiar view of
          multiculturalism

          bobgould987 wrote:

          > Peter Boyle's peculiar slant on the reactionary attack on
          multiculturalism
          >
          > By Bob Gould
          >
          > Monday's issue of Green Left Weekly has a lengthy article by Peter
          > Boyle with the rather ambiguous headline "Move over Pauline: War
          fans
          > racism - the End of Multiculturalism?".
          >
          > In the article, Boyle makes the broadly correct point that the
          > sweeping attacks by the bourgeois press and its paid hacks on
          > multiculturalism itself, has a profoundly reactionary content.
          > Nevertheless, nowhere in the article does he call for a broad
          defence
          > of multiculturalism against these attacks.
          >
          > Indeed, the article reads as if the overthrow of multiculturalism is
          > inevitable. This is a dangerous view for a socialist newspaper to
          > express. To quite properly complain about the rabid racism of the
          most
          > conservative sections of the ruling class without associating that
          > complaint with a vigorous defence of multiculturalism is inherently
          > defeatist.


          That's surely a twisted reading of the article
          <http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/636/636p24.htm>, but not
          unexpected from such a chronic mindless-point-scoring quarter.

          1. The article was a criticism of the rabid string of attacks on
          multicuturalism by commentators, some of whom expressly championed a
          return to greater mono-culturalism and the superiority of
          "Anglo-Celtic"
          culture, which I argued was racist despite their protestations to the
          contrary.

          2. The artice does not in any way state or suggest that "overthrow of
          multiculturalism is inevitable". I don't believe it is. Indeed I am
          working on a follow up article that looks at the resilience of
          popularity of the multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multicultural character
          of
          cities like London, Sydney and most major cities in Australia today.
          One
          example of this resilience is the fact that the slogan " We are all
          Londoners" became popular after the bombings. In an earlier age it may

          have been "We are all British"!

          3. I am not an uncritical supporter of "official multiculturalism" and

          certainly don't see it as addressing the roots of racism but if you'll

          check your extensive records of debates in the DSP you will find that
          Mike Karadjis and myself argued strongly that we should be very
          careful
          not to be misunderstood on this question. We are vigorous opponents of

          racism, and the mono-culturalist remnants of White Australia Policy.

          4. There has been talk of a "defense of multiculturalism" as a way
          forward for the anti-war movement today (coming from some ISO members
          in
          Sydney, for instance) but I think that is way too defensive. As I
          argued
          in my last post the anti-war movement should stick to its Troops out!
          focus.

          5. In general, I don't share Bob Gould's liberalism on the question of

          racism and agree with the general analysis of racism in the Iggy Kim
          pamphlet, which I consider is a good application of Marx's method to
          the
          topic. Being a half-caste product of Britain's colonial empire in Asia

          and having intersected with some of the worst racism in Australia
          through marriage and parenthood I've thought long and hard on this
          topic. It deeply influenced the development of my political views and
          I
          am happy to debate with whitey on the topic. If that sounds offensive
          it
          is because you offend me, Bob, and I bite back.

          Peter Boyle


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